MERIDEN- Former Connecticut State Representative, Edward L. Iwanicki, Sr., 96, formerly of Meriden, and Spring Hill, Fla., died peacefully in his sleep on Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014, at Gladeview Health Care Center, in Old Saybrook.
Mr. Iwanicki was born on April 10, 1917, to Polish immigrants, Konstanty and Mary Pauline Boczkowska Iwanicki. He was one of 10 children, Henry, Stanley, Anthony, Theodore, Charles, Arthur, Sophie, Irene, and Adeline (all of whom predeceased him). He was married for 65 years to the former Nellie Kiewlen, who died in 2007.
He is survived by his son, Edward, Jr., of Groton; son, Daniel and his wife, Lynn, of Higganum; and daughter, Kathleen, and her husband, Mark Ciliano, of Old Saybrook. He is also survived by his grandchildren, Jennifer Iwanicki, of New York City, and Mark Ciliano, Jr., of Lisbon; and his great-grandchildren, twins Jade and Jerico and Jason and Jewell Ciliano, of Lisbon. "Eddie" attended Meriden schools and graduated from Meriden High School. He was active in school sports, playing baseball, basketball, and his beloved football, for which he was named All-State Quarterback in 1937. After high school he played semi-pro football in New London for a short time, eventually forfeiting his dream of playing pro ball but never his love of sports. He became active in local baseball and football organizations for almost 40 years. He coached the Meriden Falcons football teams (1947 City Champs); coached the Walt Hillsides softball team (City Champs 1946 to 1948); and was director and coach of the Meriden Junior Football League for 27 years. He loved umpiring and was one of the longest continuous serving "umps" in Connecticut. On most spring and summer weeknights you could usually find him on a ball field somewhere in the Meriden vicinity. Following his service in the U.S. Army Infantry Division in World War II
, Mr. Iwanicki worked for New Departure (General Motors) in Meriden and Bristol for 35 years and was a lifelong member of the UAW. Upon retirement he and Nellie moved to Spring Hill, Florida where Ed continued coaching and helping children for another 30 years. He remained active in sports even in retirement, with the local high school sports program, and as a member of the Florida State Elks Association Youth Committee. For over 25 years he chaired the annual Florida Elks Central District Hoops Shoot and Free Throw contests for elementary and high school children. He was designated Elk of the Year in 1989-1990 by The Grand Lodge Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks
. Ed and Nellie returned to Connecticut in 2005. Mr. Iwanicki was active in Meriden and Connecticut politics for many years. He was Treasurer of the Meriden Democratic Party Committee and served as an Alderman in Meriden before being elected State Representative from the 79th Assembly District, where he distinguished himself by being voted the "Outstanding Environmental Legislator" and "Best House Clerk" in the 1971 session. He was recognized for his legislative campaigns to assist the disabled, disadvantaged, and the elderly. A strong supporter of unions, he was one of the last progressive Democratic champions of his working-class generation who fought for factory workers and the working poor. His family was especially proud that he achieved such a high office without today's normal corporate funding and legal degrees. His other civic and community involvements included: Polish Falcons of America Nest 68, Knights of Columbus (4th Degree), Connecticut Sportsman's Club, Connecticut State Board of Approved Officials, Connecticut Umpires Association, President of Meriden Umpires Association, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, Boy Scout Master of Troop 31, president of Father's Club of Meriden Girls Club, Policemen Association of Connecticut, and Meriden Police Benevolent Association.
Family and friends are invited to pay their respects on Saturday, Feb. 8, from 8:30 until 10:30 a.m. at the Smith-Ruzzo Funeral Home, 450 Broad St., Meriden. His Mass of Christian burial with military honors will be held on Saturday, Feb. 8, at 11 a.m. in St. Stanislaus Church, Meriden. Burial will be private and at the convenience of the family. To send an online expression of sympathy please visit www.smithruzzofuneralhome.com.